The Anatomy of a Covid Swab

Note: Your mileage with this may vary. Your mileage may vary personally, and geographically. Different places may have different setups.

This morning, barely an hour ago in fact, I had my very first Covid Swab test. Apparently this is now standard pre-surgical procedure.

Never having had one – but hearing about them quite a bit – naturally, I was curious.

Like an idiot, I Googled it. Now don’t get me wrong, Google is a great starting off point for research in some areas. Here are some fine examples:

“What are the effects of hard vacuum on a human body?”
“What is the color of Tarantula Blood?”
(It’s blue, by the way)

For the Covid swab test? Most of the hits I got back were ads for self testing kits (Not surprising). Others were News outlet reports – and you all know how they like to focus on the grim side of things.

So let me tell you how the experience went for me, while it’s still fresh in my memory.

It wasn’t that bad.

The swab itself was incredibly thin. Thinner than I’d expected – which wasn’t hard to beat since I’d been equating the word “Swab” with the word “Q-Tip” just about forever.

How thin? I didn’t get a chance to measure it. I only got the briefest of moments to eyeball it (more on that later), but I’m going to guess it was maybe an 8th of a centimeter in diameter. Now, if you’re anything like me, that doesn’t tell you much without looking at a ruler. Suffice it to say it was really thin.

The test itself was quick. 10 seconds, each side. Practically in and out. The nurse simply asked if I was ready and, when I said yes, she inserted the swab. I didn’t have to tip my head back or anything. It was almost surprisingly fast.

Now for the big question: How did it feel?

First: It didn’t hurt in the slightest.

That’s not to say that it was transparently comfortable. I wouldn’t have one of those things stuck up my nose for hours or anything.

The most irritating part was when they turned the swab. My eyes watered, but more in the way of “I’ve got to sneeze” than anything else.

To be honest, the first comparison that leaped to mind was getting pool water up my nose – Something with which I am intimately familiar. It left me wanting to blow my nose and there was that (and if you’ve ever had this happen, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about) “Pool water up your nose” feeling for about 30 seconds afterward. It was gone before I left the parking lot (I didn’t even have to get out of the truck for this test).

Over the course of the last year, I’d read about Rugby players (If you didn’t know, I’m a rugby fan) getting tested multiple times a week and I’d think, “Oh those poor folks.” But now that I’ve had one, I can see why it was only mentioned in passing.

All of this is to say, that (for me) it went well, and quickly. So if you’ve got one coming up, or if you’re avoiding getting one (Please don’t). I hope that this has brought some measure of reassurance.

Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.


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